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  • 1 Institute of History, HAS Budapest, Hungary
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The contradictory process and the ambivalent result of Jewish assimilation in Hungary between 1867 and 1944 were shaped both by the Neolog-Orthodox duality and the fast acculturation of the Neolog Jewry. The image persistently attached to the Jew in Hungary, the basis of any sort of anti-Semitism, was the denominational bound Jewishness; the identity created and sustained mainly by the urban Neolog Jewish bourgeoisie was, however, definitely Magyar. When image and identity came to be confronted with each other, then political anti-Semitism could get a firm footing; this had happened from just around the late nineteenth and especially the beginning of the twentieth century. Still, there is more than simply a continuity between the form of anti-Semitism characterizing the age of Dualism and the one accompanying the interwar period, when it even became a state policy. The former was rooted in the mental construction of a cultural code, while the latter was most closely associated with the cognitive construction of political code. This also meant that while the former was exclusively carried by some social movements hostile to the issue of Jewish assimilation, the latter led to rigid state discrimination applied against all those the image of whom was identified with Jewishness.

  • Michael Sozan, "Zsidók egy dunántúli falu közösségében" [Jews in the Community of a Transdanubian Village] in … és hol a vidék zsidósága? … [… And Where is the Jewry of the Countryside? …] eds Zita Deáky, Zsigmond Csoma and Éva Vörös (Budapest: Centrál Európa, 1994), 166.

  • Edit Balázs and Attila Katona, eds, Baljós a menny felettem. Vallomások a szombathelyi zsidóságról és a soáról [Ominous is the Heaven Above Me. Confessions on the Jews of Szombathely and the Soah] (Szombathely, 2001), 135.

  • Victor Karady, "Religious divisions, socio-economic stratification and the modernization of Hungarian Jewry after the emancipation" in Jews in the Hungarian Economy, ed. Michael K. Silber (Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, Hebrew University, 1992), 176.

  • Miklós Konrád, "Zsidó jótékonyság és asszimiláció a századfordulón" [Jewish charity and assimilation at the turn of the twentieth century], Történelmi Szemle XLIII, 3-4 (2001): 257-287.

  • The social psychological concept, threatened identity is described by Ferenc Erős, Az identitás labirintusai [Labyrinths of Identity] (Budapest: Janus/Osiris, 2001), 74-78.

  • Viktor Karády, "A zsidóság polgárosodásának és modernizációjának főbb tényezői a magyar társadalomtörténetben" [Main factors of Jewish embourgeoisement and modernization in Hungarian social history] in Karády, op. cit., 91.

  • This argument goes against Erényi's contention according to which the Jews were not only a religion but also a specific ethnic group constituting a part of the Hungarians. Erényi, op. cit., 71.

  • Saul Friedländer, A náci antiszemitizmus. Egy tömegpszichózis története (Budapest: Uránusz, 1996), 23. (Original French edition: Ľantisémitisme Nazi. Histoire d'une Psychose Collective) (Paris, 1972).

  • Jakov Katz, Végzetes szakadás. Az ortodoxia kiválása a zsidó hitközségekbol Magyarországon és Németországban [Disastrous Schism. The Secession of Orthodoxy from the Jewish Parishes in Hungary and Germany] (Budapest: Múlt és Jövő Kiadó, 1990, 303. On the several difficulties (and familial tensions) caused by leaving the Orthodox parish for the sake of Neolog one see, Gábor Gyáni: "Middle class kinship in nineteenth-century Hungary". Forthcoming.

  • Aladár Komlós, "Zsidók válaszúton (1921)" [Jews at the crossroads (1921)], in A zsidóság útja [The Road of the Jewry], ed. Kőbányai, János (Budapest: Múlt és Jövő Kiadó, 2000), 168.

  • Viktor Karády, "Asszimiláció és társadalmi krizis" [Assimilation and social crises] in Zsidóság, modernizáció, polgárosodás. Tanulmányok [Jewry, Modernization, Embourgeoisement. Studies], by Viktor Karády (Budapest: Cserépfalvi, 1997), 132-150.

  • Tibor Erényi, A zsidók története Magyarországon a honfoglalástól napjainkig [History of the Jews in Hungary from the conquest until recent times] (Budapest, n.d.), 50-51.

  • The thesis was advanced again and again by Viktor Karády.

  • Milton M. Gordon, Assimilation in American Life. The Role of Race, Religion, and National Origins (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964), 80-81.

  • Budapest Főváros Levéltára (Budapest Capital Archive) IV 1411 b. Legacy of Izsák Tafler, 1891.

  • Steven E. Aschheim, In Times of Crisis. Essays on European Culture, Germans, and Jews (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001), 91.

  • Viktor Karády, the main proponent and practitioner of this essentializing approach in Hungary uses statistics only in his own research. Cf. Victor Karády, "Social mobility, reproduction and qualitative schooling differentials in ancient regime Hungary" in CEU History Department Yearbook 1994-1995, ed. Andrea Pető (Budapest: CEU, 1995), 133-157; Idem, "Aspects of unequal assimilation in liberal Hungary. Social geography of the movement to Magyarise alien surnames before 1918," in CEU History Department Yearbook 1997-1998, ed. Eszter Andor et al. (Budapest: CEU, 1999), 49-69; Idem, "Jewish over-schooling revisited: The case of Hungarian secondary education under the Old Regime (1900-1941)" in Jewish Studies at the Central European University, ed. András Kovács (Budapest: CEU, 2000), 71-89.

  • András Gerő, "New Jewish past", in Andor, op. cit. 35-49. The book he reviewed was edited and in part written by Géza Komoróczy.

  • Aschheim, op. cit. 87.

  • The source cited is to be found in Nathaniel Katzburg, Zsidópolitika Magyarországon 1919-1943 (Budapest: Bábel Kiadó, 2002), 245. (The original edition: Hungary and the Jews 1920-1943. Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1981.)

  • Ibid., 31-36; Erényi, op. cit. 63-66; William O. McCagg, "Jews in the revolutions. The Hungarian Experience", Journal of Social History 28 (1972): 78-105; György Borsányi, "Zsidók a munkásmozgalomban" [Jews and the workers' movement in Hungary] Világosság XXXIII, 2 (1992): 145-152; Tibor Erényi, "Zsidók és a magyar baloldaliság" [The Hungarian Left and the Jews], Világosság XXXIII, 2 (1992): 152-160.

  • Cf. Kun Béláné, Kun Béla (Emlékezések) [Béla Kun (Recollections)] (Budapest: Magvető, 1969), 7-20.

  • György Litván, Jászi Oszkár [Oscar Jászi] (Budapest: Osiris, 2003), 19.

  • See Walter Pietsch, Reform és ortodoxia. A magyar zsidóság belépése a modern világba [Reform and Orthodoxy. Admittance of Hungarian Jewry in the modern world] (Budapest: Múlt és Jövő Kiadó, 1999), 99-109; János Gyurgyák, A zsidókérdés Magyarországon. Politikai eszmetörténet [The Jewish Question in Hungary. A History of Political Ideas] (Budapest: Osiris, 2001), 495-509.

  • For more about this see Márta Csabai and Ferenc Erős, Testhatárok és énhatárok. Az identitás változó keretei [Body Borders and Self Borders. The Changing Frameworks of Identity] (Budapest: Jószöveg, 2000), 50.

  • Shulamit Volkov, "The written matter and the spoken word. On the gap between pre1914 and Nazi anti-Semitism," in Unanswered Questions. The Nazi Germany and the Genocide of Jews, ed. Francois Furet (New York: Schocken Books, 1989), 33-55.

  • Shulamit Volkov, "Anti-Semitism as a Cultural Code. Reflections on the History and Historiography of anti-Semitism in Imperial Germany," in Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook, XXIII (1978): 25-45.

  • E. J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780. Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 102-109.

  • The metaphor he applies is the following. True that the national sentiment felt by the Jews is merely a surface, but: "If Hungarianness of us is a skin only (Hungarian language, Hungarian education, more attraction and interest to the field and all the thing attached to the Hungarians), man does not give up his skin very easily and it is impossible to cast it quickly both for moral and technical reasons." Komlós, op. cit., 182.

  • Miklós Szabó, Az újkonzervativizmus és a jobboldali radikalizmus története (1867-1918) [The Neo-Conservativism and the History of Right-Wing Radicalism, 1867-1918] (Budapest: Új Mandátum, 2003.)

  • Miklós Szabó, "A 'magyar girondistáktól' az ébredő magyarokig. Az 1919-es ellenforradalmi kurzus előtörténetéből" [From the 'Hungarian girondists' to the awakening Hungarians. From the pre-history of the counterrevolutionary regime of 1919], Világosság 17, 3 (1976): 151-161; Idem, "Vázlat az antiszemitizmusról" [An outline of anti-Semitism], Mozgó Világ 21, 8 (1995): 3-11.